The great advantage kids have growing up in the age of digital cameras is that the odds are low that one day they will stumble on a collection of printed photos labeled “Quebec Summer: FAT PHASE.”
Remember when you’d take your roll of film to the local drugstore and you would automatically get duplicates? So, not only did you have one set of photos you’d rather burn, you’d have 2… that’s 4 double chins. And while there was no social media circulation, you had the distinct non-advantage of having tangible proof that once upon a time you were the size of a blimp.
I stumbled upon the “Quebec Summer: FAT PHASE” envelope in the midst of some appliance-melt-down-induced cleaning. The photos, along with others from my more youthful summers, were striking reminders that when you grow up the chubby, knock-kneed girl, you grow up with an awkward relationship with shorts.
When your thighs touch, there’s almost no short length that doesn’t ride up when you walk. Instead of neatly aligned horizontal hemlines, the bottoms of your trunks form a wobbly V. It’s not only unattractive, it’s uncomfortable. Walking in bunched-up shorts is like walking with a golf ball wedged between your legs. So you learn to adapt.
First, you try the “Cowboy Walk.” The idea is to look like you just got off a horse after finishing a cattle drive. You point your feet away from each other and widen your stride, attempting to keep your legs as far from each other as you can.
It’s equal parts swagger and waddle. It’s also highly inefficient.
Next, you try the “Shake-it-Out.”
When you realize this is about as effective as the Cowboy Walk in ridding yourself of the ride up, you give into the walk, stop and pull down. It’s painfully obvious, but it gets the job done.
If you’re hell-bent on wearing shorts, these adaptations are better than the alternative, which is obsessing over something you can’t really change — the gap between your upper legs. Or, you can do the far more sensible thing and forego the shorts all together. Skirts are classier anyway.